The first 21 schools in New Zealand to be connected to a national managed e-learning network by the end of the year have been announced by Associate Education Minister, Nikki Kaye.
“This Government has committed NZ$ 211 million (US$ 175 million), over the next eight years, to deliver a funded package of fast, high-quality connections with uncapped data to schools. This is critical to ensuring young people can achieve their full potential in an increasingly digital world,” said the Minister.
Network for Learning (N4L), a government-owned company, is building the managed network to serve more than 2500 schools in New Zealand and create an environment that facilitates the adoption of digital learning.
The managed network will connect schools through a secure data network, and offer higher levels of service quality and support than ever before. The network will also enable schools to have faster and more stable connections to the internet.
The network will be run on the best mix of ultra-fast, rural and remote broadband available in the country. It will reduce ICT complexity and costs for schools as the internet connection will no longer be supported by the schools, but managed centrally.
The service will be delivered to schools as an N4L package including access to the managed network with quality fast connections, uncapped data, online content filtering and network security services.
The network is being rolled out to schools progressively, “balanced and timed to each school’s needs”, informs the Minister. The first three schools to be connected are Massey Primary School, Waimate High School and Mt. Aspiring College.
“There has been an overwhelming response to the managed network with more than 1700 schools registering interest since it was announced in August this year,” she added. A total of 700 schools are to be connected by the end of 2014, and all schools will be invited to connect by 2016.
N4L is also designing a portal which will become available to schools in early 2014, establishing an online community of teachers, students and education professionals. The portal will provide schools with a safe and collaborative platform to share trusted educational services and content.
“Combined with the investment in fibre connections to schools and the School Network Upgrade Programme (SNUP), the Government’s commitment to fund schools into the managed network represents a total investment of more than NZ$ 700 million (US$ 581 million) in digital infrastructure.
“By 2016 schools, teachers and students right across New Zealand will be taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by digital technology,” the Minister added.